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Kendo in the Imanishi family began with Umajiro Imanishi at the turn of the 20th century.

Umajiro Imanishi-sensei's "coming to America" story is a story of struggle. Before World War II he was married with three children, worked as a laborer, and taught kendo as a means of sharing his culture and serving his community. On December 8th 1941, one day after Japan declared war on the United States, Imanishi-sensei was arrested by the FBI under suspicion of military ties to Japan becuase he was a martial arts teacher. When questioned by the FBI about the purpose of kendo he replied, "kendo is to make strong the mind, heart and character." He was taken from his family and friends, held prisoner for several years, and was forced to labor for the US government. Imanishi-sensei was never found guilty of any crime. Despite the many injustices he faced, Imanishi-sensei persevered due to the strength instilled in him by the practice of kendo.

Today, four generations of Imanishi descendants have continued Imanishi-sensei's legacy of pioneering kendo in the Pacific Northwest, including his grandson, Gary Imanishi-sensei, great-grandson, Bryan Imanishi-sensei, and great-granddaughter, Taryn Imanishi-sensei, at Cascade Kendo Kai. He also has a grandson, Doug Imanishi-sensei, who is the head of Seattle Kendo Kai. Umajiro Imanishi-sensei's life serves as an inspiration to his family and to many kendo practitioners.

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